Preparations for the Union Budget usually keep ministers and officials from the Finance Ministry busy. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman could not attend the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs’ investiture ceremony for this reason on Monday. MoS (Finance) Anurag Thakur, who had to fill in for Sitharaman, distributed the awards and merit certificates at the event. Addressing them, Thakur spoke about difficulties faced by ministers attending the programme so close to Budget Day. He suggested that the department should consider organising the ceremony — currently held on International Customs Day — on the eve of Republic Day, or the evening that day, so that ministers can attend it.
Awaiting Big Guns
The BJP has brought out its big guns for campaigning for Delhi elections. While Home Minister Amit Shah and party chief J P Nadda have held rallies, it is still not clear when the Congress top guns will hit the campaign trail, or whether they will campaign at all. There is still no word on when former party chief Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi — or even party chief Sonia Gandhi — will address rallies or hold road shows in the national capital. Rahul will be in Jaipur on Tuesday to address a rally, and in Kerala later this week, even as top BJP leaders campaign in Delhi.
The HRD Ministry held the national inter-school band competition on January 23 in which 16 teams (400 students) from across the country took part. One of these teams — comprising 27 girls and six teachers — was from Kannur, Kerala. On January 24, this team, which was staying in Bal Bhawan, was asked to vacate their rooms. Congress MP from Kannur, K Sudhakaran, approached MoS (HRD) Sanjay Dhotre at midnight and requested his intervention. On January 25, Sudhakaran thanked Dhotre on Twitter for his “swift intervention”, and help in extending the team’s stay at Bal Bhawan until they leave Delhi.
On A High
Jalshakti Ministry’s tableau on Jal Jeevan Mission (JMM) is the joint winner for the best tableau award of Republic Day. It shares the award with the National Disaster Response Force, whose tableau depicted humanitarian work by the force during calamities. The award is a boost for the newly-launched JMM, which aims to provide functional household tap connection to each rural household by 2024. JMM comes under the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation. It is the third tableau from the same department in the last four years. The department’s tableaus had showcased Swachh Bharat Mission twice in recent years.
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